Defense

June 30, 2016
 

Pentagon ends ban on transgender troops in military

by Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press

The Pentagon announced June 30 that transgender people will be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, ending one of the last bans on service in the armed forces.

Saying it’s the right thing to do, Defense Secretary Ash Carter laid out a yearlong implementation plan declaring that “Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so.”

Speaking at a Pentagon press conference, Carter said, “Our mission is to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.”

Under the new policy, by Oct. 1, transgender troops should be able to receive medical care and begin formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.

And a year from now, he said, the military services will begin allowing transgender individuals to enlist, as long as they meet the required standards and have been stable in their identified gender for 18 months.

Carter’s announcement comes despite concerns from senior military leaders that the department is moving too fast and that more time is needed to work through the changes. He said he discussed the plans extensively with his military leaders, and based on their recommendations, he made adjustments to the timeline. He said he has been told that the services now support the timeline.

Last July, Carter said he intended to rescind the ban, calling it outdated. He has long argued that the military must be more inclusive to bring in the best and brightest.

At the time, he ordered a six-month study to include extensive medical and scientific research and discussions with other nations and companies with experience in the process. He extended the study because the military wanted more time.

Officials said he wanted to insure there was no impact on military readiness, but over time, he became frustrated with the slow progress.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson

U.S. service members mark Thanksgiving serving on global missions

Navy photograph by PO2 Christian Senyk A USS McCampbell sailor disembarks the Royal Brunei Navy ship KDB Darussalam to board a rigid hull inflatable boat during a visit, board, search and seizure training exercise in the South ...
 
 
af-cross-train6

Policy changes allow Airmen to retrain into special operations

Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Katrina Cheesman Special Tactics officer candidates pull a Zodiac boat to the shore during a selection at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Oct. 21, 2014. Special Tactics career field training pipelines are ...